One of my favorite parts of worship at Waypoint is when many of the children join us as we sing near the end of the service. I delight in the twirling, the pew crawling, and the general mayhem that normally ensues. I especially enjoy seeing children perched on their father’s arms, sometimes raising chubby hands towards the sky, sometimes peeking over their shoulders, confident and secure in their father’s strength and love. I wonder, Dads, have you ever stopped to realize what a beautiful picture that is of God’s grace? That as you mirror God’s love to your own children, Satan is being crushed beneath our feet?
Jesus refers to God as father more than 150 times in the gospels. It is also one of Christians’ most popular ways of addressing God in prayer and song; surely we all long for a good father who reminds us that “He is pleased and we are never alone.”
Unfortunately, there are many people who have never experienced what it is like to have a father. According the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.7 million children (more than 1 out of 4) live without a father in the home. Children without a father in their lives are statistically more likely to face poverty, drop out of school, commit a crime, and to struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. Sadly, this is commonly a cycle that can continue through generations.
Yet, God is a “father to the fatherless” who “sets the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:5-6), and Jesus came to “turn the hearts of fathers to their children” (Malachi 4:6). He also invites us into this kingdom work of restoration. I’m thankful for those who seek to understand the many complex issues that have lead to our current fatherlessness crisis and the many who are working to change the tide.
And, I am thankful for all of the flawed, but faithful men I know who are daily writing a different story in their own homes and communities. The men who pray for their children, who model respect in the way they treat their wives, who strive for strength of character, and who ask for forgiveness when they fail. You are not only blessing your own children, you are a light shining in the darkness, reflecting our Abba Father’s nature. I pray you will be able to persevere even when it seems no one sees your sacrifices, you will trust in the only perfect father to guide you, and you will delight in the precious ones he has entrusted to you.
I hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day!